Browns reportedly to blame for holdup on Baker Mayfield trade

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are the biggest reason why Baker Mayfield has not been traded just yet.

While Baker Mayfield remains a member of the Cleveland Browns for the time being, contractual issues are the biggest reason why he has not been traded thus far this offseason.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported that while teams like the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks have not ruled acquiring Mayfield entirely, they will need the Browns to eat much of his fifth-year option salary for them to strike a deal with Cleveland. Howe added Carolina and Seattle are using their leverage to their advantage, with the Browns having to eat nearly $18 million of it.

The fact that Mayfield is coming off an injury-riddled season has slowed down his once robust trade market to not much more than a crawl entering the heart of the offseason.

Cleveland Browns are the biggest reason why Baker Mayfield has not been dealt

Where it stands now, Seattle seems to be comfortable in rolling with Drew Lock and Geno Smith under center. The same principle applies in Charlotte with Carolina having Sam Darnold under contract, as well as rookie quarterback Matt Corral coming out of Ole Miss. Is Mayfield a better quarterback than all four of them? Yes, but for the money, you can see why there is trepidation.

Cleveland has to understand that it will eat the bulk of Mayfield’s fifth-year option, no matter how things shake out. Teams like the Panthers or Seahawks are not going to want to spend more than a little over $1 million in base salary if they do not have to. When the Browns extended the fifth-year option, they knew this was a fully-guaranteed contract for 2022. They created this mess.

Ultimately, Cleveland will hold onto Mayfield for as long as the Browns believe they can get any compensation for him. Once that day no longer exists, the Browns may release him and eat all of that 2022 salary. If he signs somewhere else, the Browns can recoup some of that money, but they will not be getting any direct compensation by parting ways with Mayfield in such a manner.

It may be incredibly awkward, but the Browns are not in any hurry to trade Mayfield this summer.

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